The Filthy Speech Movement (Spring, 1965)

this was not part of the Free Speech Movement


Ron Enfield Photos

see also David Goines, The Free Speech Movement, Chap. 50 (53 pages)

3/15/1965: Spider Magazine, Vol. I, No. II

5/24/1965: Spider Magazine, Vol. I, No. V


3/19/1965, Time Magazine, Universities: Stiffening the Spine,

"At a time when student unrest on the University of California's Berkeley campus seemed to be simmering down, a handful of cause-hunting students and some off-campus beatniks suddenly began shouting obscene words into a public-address system at Sproul Hall and displaying them on signs. The reaction of Berkeley police against what quickly got dubbed the 'filthy speech movement' was swift: nine demonstrators were arrested (six turned out not to be registered students)."

12/9/1984, San Francisco Examiner, The Free Speech revolutionaries, 20 years later, Lynn Ludlow

"The Charlie Brown file grew when his name, like those of other demonstrators, was checked by The Examiner's extensive library of past newspaper articles. In early 1965, Charlie Brown had jumped into the news when he declaimed enough taboo words to get himself arrested in what was known as the Filthy Speech Movement."

10/5/2015, The Daily Utah Chronicle, The Tale of Charlie Brown: Utah's First Hippie, Justin Adams

"A series of 1965 articles by Harris Vincent in The Daily Utah Chronicle tell the story of 'Charlie Brown,' a traveling hippie who is credited for introducing Utah to the counter-culture movement. ¶ Charlie 'Brown' Artman was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to a Methodist minister. He attended Cal Berkeley, where he was part of the 1964 Free Speech Movement, during which he and more than 700 other students were arrested. He would later drop out of school 'so that he could study.'" [ed note: photos]

10/29/2015, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Spider's Web of Worrisome Words, Allan Metcalf

"Half a century ago - on the first of March 1965, to be exact - there emerged from the midst of the increasingly excited and politicized student body at the University of California at Berkeley a new twice-a-month publication with the ominous title Spider. It reported and commented on the turmoil among student activists, including the affray nicknamed the 'filthy speech movement' in parody of the earnest Free Speech Movement of the previous fall. But everyone was in a good mood, because the FSM had been a great success, achieved entirely by nonviolent means, so students could feel virtuous as well as successful."

2/23/2017, Inside Higher Ed, Yiannopoulos and the Moral Crisis of Campus Conservatism, Robert Cohen

"So Yiannopoulos’s Republican campus hosts are at miscast as the Free Speech Movement’s political descendants. If there is any free speech dispute from Berkeley in the 1960s that the Yiannopoulos affair resembles (and even here the resemblance is limited) it is the obscenity controversy that erupted in spring 1965, a semester after the Free Speech Movement. That controversy concerned the right to use the obscene word 'Fuck' in public campus discourse.  Some Free Speech Movement veterans supported this right, and others (like Savio) objected to the punishment of obscenity protesters on due process grounds. But most movement veterans and much of the Berkeley student body refused to rally to this cause because they felt that this use of obscenity was irresponsible and distracted from more serious issues facing the civil rights and antiwar movements.

That’s why journalists who labeled this obscenity affair 'the Filthy Speech Movement' erred, as it was impossible to build a mass movement at Berkeley in defense of obscene speech, impossible to re-assemble the old Free Speech Movement coalition for such a cause. Most of the Berkeley student body in 1965 was too wedded to the ideal of responsible political discourse to wave the 'Fuck' banner. In this sense they were more genuinely conservative than today’s Berkeley College Republicans who not only wink at Yiannopoulos’s obscenity, but also at its use to defame minority students."